"Make it really, really scary Mom. With spooky stuff like goblins and bats and witches. Everyone needs to be really scared." Those were my instructions from my three year old on how I should design his Spooky Halloween Birthday Party. I could picture it now me going overboard on the spooky theme and having a house full of crying three and four year olds who never wanted to enter my house again. No thanks. I modified my version of a spooky Halloween for the younger crew and it was a huge success. And by huge success I mean my son sobbed in his bed until midnight saying he just never wanted his birthday to end. I have to admit I was sad for the day to end too!
Here are the party highlights:
Guests arrived to a Welcome Sign sharing the party activities for the day.
The decor set the stage for our spooky (but not really that spooky) Halloween Birthday Party. Fake cobwebs, purple and black bats and creepy, crawly spiders covered the walls. Purple, orange and black helium balloons filled every corner of every room. The party table had a simple polka dot orange table cloth, plastic ghost cups and cute Halloween plates from Oriental Trading Company.
Spooky house all set? Time for fun! Creating centers is the best way to ensure a successful party with young children. Clear out as much furniture and excess toys as you can to make room for the different activities. I taped large pieces of cardboard over our toy shelves to keep the focus on the Halloween activities. A simple sign labeling each center helped guide the guests.
Decorate the Haunted House- I love using cardboard for art activities. It is free, you can use your recycling and it is fairly sturdy to use with children. I made the house ahead of time with large pieces of cardboard and clear packing tape. I added two ghosts and a monster peeking out. The children loved decorating the house with Halloween themed foam stickers, markers and crayons.
Feed the Monster- More cardboard fun. I painted the monster with simple tempera paint and cut out a large opening for the mouth. Our monster LOVES candy and we fed him candy corns I created using felt and a glue gun. I filled the candy corn bean bags with some dried garbanzo beans. Children could either throw the candy corns into the mouth or drop them in.
Halloween Glitter Playdoh- I love homemade playdoh (I'll share my recipe another day). This simple playdoh was made with orange gel food coloring and a very liberal amount of black and orange glitter. I set up a table with balls of playdoh, rolling pins, chopsticks, cookie cutters and candles.
Make Your Own Mask
- I purchased simple paper masks from Michaels Craft Store
. I provided the children with glitter glue, multi-colored sequins, feathers and a variety of googly eyes.
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Pin the Spider on the Web- I drew a simple web on a large piece of white paper. I created black spiders on small pieces of white paper with a tape pillow attached to the back. While blindfolded the children tried to "pin" their spiders on the web. Using a spiderweb for young children gives them many opportunities for success because there is not an exact place the spider has to be pinned.
Face Painting- I set up a small table with child-sized chairs, face paint and a small container of water and paper towels for inevitable clean-ups. This was a hit! As you can see my 21 month old daughter, Luca, decided to paint her own face!
After the activities it was time to eat. I kept things simple this year and ordered pizza and made pigs in a blanket and a simple garden salad. Lemonade and apple cider were served. And, of course, what would a birthday party be without cake and ice cream? The inside of the cake was chocolate and vanilla with a chocolate and buttercream frosting (I'll post my favorite cake recipes another day). I designed the cake to be a haunted pumpkin patch. My son adores Dan's white chocolate truffles
so I covered them in orange tinted buttercream to create the pumpkin patch. The ghosts are white chocolate and the tree is bittersweet chocolate. I avoid artificial food dyes and instead opted for Seelect Natural Vegetable Dyes
We were lucky enough to have a beautiful sunny day. 65 degrees in late October in New England? We'll take it! Time to take the sugar-filled children outside for some pinata fun! I purchased a bat pinata from Amazon for $15. Like many pinatas this one proved difficult to crack open and reminded me of that hilarious scene from the movie Parenthood when Steve Martin's character finally takes out the electric saw. The kids didn't seem to mind the challenge. The treats were worth the wait!
As our little guests began to say their goodbyes we sent each child home with a goody bag filled with bubbles, pinata candy, halloween themed note pads, crayons and an individual portion of the Halloween glitter playdoh. I purchased the bags from Michaels, cut pumpkins from orange glitter cardstock and attached googly eyes. Each bag was personalized with the child's name.
Quinn and my 9 year old niece, Fiona, declared this the best party they had ever been to. High praise from two of my favorite kids. I'll take it!
What was your best birthday party when you were a kid?